Hallervorden-Spatz Disease

This disease is also called neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation. It is a neurological movement disorder. It is inherited and rare. It causes a progressive degeneration of the nervous system.


Symptoms vary among patients. They usually develop during childhood and may include:

  • Slow, distorted muscle contractions of the:

  • Limbs.

  • Face.

  • Trunk.

  • Involuntary, jerky muscle movements. This is called choreoathetosis.

  • Uncontrolled tightness of the muscles. This is muscle rigidity.

  • Involuntary muscle spasms. This is called spasticity.

  • Inability to coordinate movements. This is ataxia.

  • Confusion.

  • Disorientation.

  • Convulsions. These are seizures.

  • Stupor.

  • Dementia.

Other symptoms are less common. They may include:

  • Painful muscle spasms.

  • Difficulty speaking. This is dysphasia.

  • Mental retardation.

  • Facial grimacing.

  • Poorly articulated speech. This is dysarthria.

  • Visual impairment.


There is no cure for this disease. Nor is there a standard course of treatment. Treatment is:

  • Symptomatic.

  • Supportive.

Treatment may include:

  • Physical therapy.

  • Occupational therapy.

  • Exercise physiology.

  • Speech pathology.